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  • Writer's pictureThe Rural Legend

How to Paint Laminate Furniture From Ikea

Did you know you can paint laminate coated furniture like they sell at Ikea without the paint chipping or scratching? Follow our simple step by step tutorial for a flawless finish on any piece of furniture like this Ikea Hemnes Shoe Cabinet that we're transforming into a built in command center!


white hemnes Ikea shoe cabinet turned into a custom built in cabinet, full tutorial, the rural legend

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white hemnes Ikea shoe cabinet turned into a custom built in cabinet, full tutorial, the rural legend



Our 1980's home doesn't have a foyer or large entryway, so we had to get a little creative with designating a "drop zone" for our family. We chose this Ikea Hemnes shoe cabinet because it is very shallow, but still provides lots of storage for our family of 3. For the past 5 years it has sat just inside our garage door where we store our keys, every day shoes, and other command center staples like school papers, pens, and charging cables.


white hemnes Ikea shoe cabinet turned into a custom built in cabinet, full tutorial, the rural legend


I recently had the idea to move the cabinet to the OTHER side of our garage door - I know, ground breaking, right?! It is a PERFECT fit between the doors to the basement and garage and sits just below our thermostat. Seeing it in its new space inspired us to make it look like it's always been part of the house! With a few tweaks, we made it look like a custom built in and I'm going to show you how we did it!


white hemnes Ikea shoe cabinet turned into a custom built in cabinet, full tutorial, the rural legend

How to Make Furniture look Like a Built-In


We started by adding 5 1/2 inch primed MDF boards around the bottom of the cabinet. This matches all of the baseboards in this room, instantly giving the illusion of a built-in. Because the legs of the cabinet were tall enough to accommodate the trim, there was no need to built a platform for the cabinet, like we did for our basement cabinets. We cut all of the trim pieces with a compound miter saw. We also added a thin piece of cove moulding on the top where the cabinet meets the wall. Tim cut the sides at a 45 degree angle for a finished look.


white hemnes Ikea shoe cabinet turned into a custom built in cabinet, full tutorial, the rural legend


We attached all of the trim with our brad nailer and air compressor. We used this caulk for all of the seams and I filled all the nail holes with 3M small hole repair. I love that this little bottle comes with it's own built-in scraper and sanding pad!!!


white hemnes Ikea shoe cabinet turned into a custom built in cabinet, full tutorial, the rural legend

How to Paint Laminate Furniture


With any type of laminate or veneer furniture, applying a good quality primer is absolutely essential. While I do love using paint with a primer built into it, you really need apply a separate primer to ensure your paint adheres to avoid scratches and chips. Don't miss all of the tips for painting furniture in this post!


white hemnes Ikea shoe cabinet turned into a custom built in cabinet, full tutorial, the rural legend


I applied 2 coats of PPG Gripper primer, waiting an hour between coats. I used a smooth roller made for cabinets and my favorite paint brushes for the edges. Per the primer directions, I waited a full 24 hours before painting the cabinet to match the Sherwin Williams Alabaster trim. I highly recommend going with a paint made for cabinets and furniture! We used this.


white hemnes Ikea shoe cabinet turned into a custom built in cabinet, full tutorial, the rural legend

white hemnes Ikea shoe cabinet turned into a custom built in cabinet, full tutorial, the rural legend

The Alabaster color is obviously similar to the original color of the cabinet, but now matches the tone and finish of the trim perfectly giving it a built in feel! And because we properly primed this piece it won't scratch with use! Don't miss my next post because I'll be sharing how I styled our new custom built in and what we store inside!


xoxo, L



Looking for more Ideas for Custom Built-In Cabinetry? Don't miss these posts!





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